What Business Licenses and Permits are Needed in Vermont?
Starting a business in Vermont will mean potentially registering with a number of federal, state, and local agencies. Let’s take a look at common licenses and permits a business will register for in Vermont.
Before applying for any licenses, the legal structure of the business will need to be established. Learn more about the differences between the sole proprietorship, general partnership, corporation, and Limited Liability Company (LLC).
Related: Comparison of Business Entities
Learn more about forming an LLC in Vermont
Also see: Steps to starting a business in Vermont
General Business License
There is no general state of Vermont business license, however, many cities require businesses to be licensed. Rules for business registration vary depending on location and what the business does. Below are a few cities that have licensing requirements.
Burlington – Business licenses and permits for businesses operating in the City of Burlington can be searched through the Start-up Burlington website.
Rutland – Businesses operating as a restaurant, bar deli, or hotel will need to obtain a business license from the Rutland City Clerk.
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Building & Zoning Permits
Zoning – Depending on the location of the business, it’s important to verify whether the business needs an occupancy permit or has specific zoning regulations to follow. Depending on city requirements, home-based businesses may need to apply for a home occupation permit.
Building Permit – A building permit may be needed from the city or county building and planning department if there is any construction or renovations to a facility.
Signage Permit – Some municipalities require a permit before adding signage.
Business Tax Account
Most businesses operating in Vermont will need to register for a Business Tax Account through the Vermont Department of Taxes. This account lets businesses register for a Vermont sales tax permit (also referred to as a sales tax license), meals and room tax, and employer withholding tax.
Certificate of Exemption
Businesses purchasing merchandise to resell will usually want to obtain a Vermont Certificate of Exemption (often referred to as a Resale Certificate) in order to not pay sales tax for merchandise that is being resold to customers.
A variety of professions in the state are regulated and need to be registered before offering certain services. A few common professions that require licensing in Vermont include; barbers, athletic trainers, tattoo artists, and many more. Additional information, fees, and licensing requirements for professions are available from the Vermont Office of Professional Regulation.
In addition to professional licenses through the Office of Professional Regulation, businesses in a variety of industries such as food establishments, day cares, salvage yards also require licensing.
Employer Identification Number (EIN)
Many businesses will register with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for an EIN (also referred to as a FEIN, Federal Employer Identification Number, or Federal Tax ID Number). The EIN is the business equivalent of a Social Security Number for an individual. Corporations, Limited Liability Companies, Partnerships, and Sole Proprietorships with employees will all need to register for one. Sole Proprietorships without employees can use the owner’s Social Security Number.
There is no cost for an EIN, and it only takes a few minutes to get.
Trade Name Registration
While not a business license, it’s common for Sole Proprietorships and Partnerships operating under a business name that is different from the full name of the owner(s) to register for an Assumed Name (also known as a Doing Business As or DBA) with the Vermont Secretary of State.
These are just some of the most common business licenses a new business will need to register before starting. Before starting your business, be sure to check with City Hall, County Clerk, Chamber of Commerce, and/or Economic Developer in your area to get more information regarding business licensing.